Helping Kids to "Shine"
I've had so many questions lately about what I'm doing since the change of ministry happened. So I thought I'd take a little time and try and explain the ministries I'm working with now. First up, is the Shine Literacy program.
The Shine Literacy program was brought to Plettenberg Bay by a wonderful woman named Pippa. It's a program that's running in several locations around Cape Town, South Africa. And when Pippa saw how the children were struggling here in Plett, specifically in the township schools, she knew this program could make a difference for them as well.
This is a reading and writing program working to teach English as a second language to the children of the townships. The schools in the local townships are taught in the children's native language(s) through Grade 3. But in Grade 4 they switch to English only. If children do not hear English at home or learn to read and write English before they start Grade 4 they may find themselves in a continued cycle of failure and defeat until they either get passed through the system or they decide to drop out of school. In either of these cases, we're not setting these children up for success as adults.
What the Shine program hopes to do is to come in and aid the overwhelmed teachers in helping these children to learn to read and write in English before they start Grade 4. Four days a week volunteers, called Learning Partners, come into a special learning center and work one-on-one with children helping them to learn using a paired reading system during the kids break/freetime. They work with children on a term basis (4 terms in a school year) and at the end of the term the children are re-evaluated to see if they can move out of the program or if they need to continue for another term. The goal is to reach every Grade 3 child in the school before the school year ends. And they have seen tremendous success in the children they have already taught using this program!
I am currently working with this program one day a week but I'm hoping to be able to do more in the future. I couldn't commit to more right now because I'm still working out how I'm going to be used by the other two ministries I've agreed to help with, and I'm still working on transportation issues to and from the townships. But for now I'm excited to help once a week and work with 4 children individually during my time at the school. I have a friend from my connect group here in Plett that drives me to the schools and another of the volunteers drives me home when we're done. It's working well for just one day a week but if I get the chance to help more in future school terms I would love to figure that out as well.
I will write more soon about the other two ministries I'm helping with and hopefully answer any questions about those programs as well. But, in the meantime, if you have any questions about this program or anything else, please feel free to contact me using the links on this site. I really don't mind answering your questions. In fact it helps me to know what to write on this blog for people who may also be wondering the same things.
I love you guys and I am so incredibly thankful for your support and kindness through this journey! I know you hear me say it often but I hope you hear it as truth. I couldn't do this without you all! Thank you!
Love Always, Freudy